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A tale of 2 mothers

Photograph courtesy of Team Philippines GILAS star Camille Clarin (left) poses with mother Abbey at the sidelines of the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA — Abbey Policarpio-Clarin and Marestella Torres-Sunang go to such lengths to be with their children.

For Abbey, this means traveling from Toronto, Canada to be at the side of Camille who plays for the Gilas Pilipinas women’s basketball team.

Marestella, on the other hand, finds ways to spend time with her nine-year-old son Mavie.

Abbey said she has gone to Mongolia, Vietnam and Malaysia to cheer for her daughter.

“I felt like I’m the real MVP,” she said in jest.

But that’s the least she can do for Camille.

“I was able to witness how they sacrificed a lot,” Abbey said. “As a mom, all I can do is support Camille and the rest of the team all the way.”

Camille’s getting into basketball was not a surprise since her father Ron used to play for the University of the Philippines varsity squad.

“We’re a family of ballers,” Abbey said. “Since she was young, she was already separated from us. She was studying in the States in grade school, then she suffered an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury entering her Grade 10.”

Abbey said Camille got an opportunity to play for National University and the Gilas team through coach Pat Aquino.

Abbey and Ron own a basketball facility in Toronto.

Marestella’s son is still not into sports, but the young mother makes it a point to be with him.

“We find time to bond. We go to the beach, go to the malls, we go on road tripping and he enjoyed it a lot,” she said.

Marestella, a former long jump champion, said she balances work with her being a mother.

Three years since retiring from competition, Marestella now serves as a trainer in Ateneo and the Philippine obstacle race team as well as enlisted personnel in the Army.

“When I was still competing, the most challenging part was time management,” she said.

“I remember, just 45 days after giving birth, I resumed training. It was really difficult.”

Marestella said that she would leave home with his son still sleeping and come back late at night without talking to him.

“When I was competing overseas, I was having a difficult time because I missed him. But then again, he’s my biggest inspiration.”

This week, Marestella served as a mother figure for some of the athletes.

“It’s so fulfilling to see the athletes that I’m helping improving a lot,” she said. “Not only in sports, but also in life. The life lessons they’ve learned are valuable.”

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